BAZETTA - With so many options along the midway, fairgoers have many decisions to make: Sausage sandwich or steak hoagie? Cotton candy or caramel apple? Dart throw or ring toss?
Jim Dittmar wants to help make decisions easier. After all, he's in the business of answering questions.
Dittmar is the pastor at Warren Baptist Church and his question-mark-adorned tent near the grandstand offers "the answer that millions cannot question."
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Diana Davis of Girard, center, talks to fairgoers about “The Greatest Question Ever Asked.” With her are George and Nancy Bradley (in the booth).
"When you die do you know for sure that you're going to Heaven?" Is the question posed by one Viewmaster-style visual display. The other offers John 14:6 as the answer.
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
For Dittmar, this passage brought him to his passion, and sharing his faith in Jesus Christ as the answer comes as naturally as telling a friend about a hot sale at the store.
"When you find a great sale, you want to tell everyone about it," he said.
But for all the appeal of his tent's facade, Dittmar said he doesn't want to drag people off the midway or beat them in the head with an old King James Bible.
He hands out a pamphlet, though, and asks people to remember to pray for America's soldiers. The pamphlet, "A Life Laid Down" reminds people of the noble sacrifices of America's military men and women for freedom, while drawing the parallel to Christ's sacrifice for forgiveness of humanity's sins.
Dittmar's son Jimmy said they've had as many as 30 people stop in during this year's fair so far. He and Dittmar estimate they've spread the word to as many as 500 curious fairgoers over five years, and Jimmy thinks they have "reached" about 10 percent, or 50 of them. But Dittmar said he's not counting.
Around the corner and nestled between the rides and games, the folks from the Grace Fellowship Church take a more direct approach.
The tent, similar to Dittmar's, wants to know "can you answer this question?" And George Bradley asks it directly, with visual aids also.
A three-scene display shows a man in a casket. The next scene is a tranquil blue with an image of Jesus Christ awaiting wayward souls. The third panel is painted with flames, spotted with tiny devils wearing agitated looks on their faces.
Bradley asks "When you die one day, do you know for sure where you'll end up?"
While Bradley and Grace Fellowship's question is similar to Dittmar's, Bradley's verse of choice differs.
John 5:13 says: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
And while Dittmar doesn't count, Grace Fellowship takes bold pride in bringing people to the word, the tent boasting "9900 decisions made."